- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 10 Hour
- Reading permission
Excerpt from a language blog: |
For more than four centuries, guttural (from Latin guttur 'throat' via Medieval Latin gutturalis) has been used to describe consonants articulated towards the back of the oral cavity.
guttural has been inexactly associated with foreign consonants that sound "throaty" to English speakers.
In contemporary usage it's one of those words that gets thrown around whenever a speaker finds an alien speech pattern somehow displeasing. (Merriam-Webster aptly defines this sense as "being or marked by utterance that is strange, unpleasant, or disagreeable.") A quick Web search turns up such examples as "a guttural English/Chinese mishmash," "a guttural Yorkshire accent," "a guttural Southern drawl," "guttural Ebonics," and countless others. Very often, of course, guttural modifies nonlinguistic vocalizations (roar, laugh, squawk, purr, growl, yell, cackle, groan, etc.). Such collocations only underscore the fact that speech described as guttural may be deemed not just substandard but sublinguistic (at times even subhuman).
The value of speech patterns labeled guttural, in other words, is already quite low in the estimation of many, even without the help of the similar-sounding but etymologically unrelated gutter. Add to this the fact that gutter is often applied attributively to indicate coarse speech ("gutter language," "gutter talk," "gutter slang," etc.), and the conflation of guttural and gutter to describe vulgar or distasteful forms of communication seems practically inevitable. From there it's a short step to Jon Corzine's "guttural politics."